chapter  4
12 Pages

Evaluation Research at COPA: Goals, Methods, and Problems

Laterintheproject,afourthtypeofdatawasincorporated,which consistedof:

4.36casestudies(usingtheevaluationdataaswellasdescriptivecasenotesandfollow-upinterviewswiththeclients).

Theassessmentanddischargedatawerecollectedprimarilyfor clinicalorprogrampurposes,andsecondarilyforresearchpurposes. Theclientcontactdatawereintendedtoformthemajordatabasefor addressingresearchquestions.Therewereseveralfactorsinvolvedin thedecisiontofocusonclientcontactdataasthemajorsourceof information.Thefirstfactorwastheissueoftheburdenofresearch ontheclient.Itwasresolvedattheoutsetthattheclinicalneedsof theclientswouldalwaystakeprecedenceovertheresearchneeds. Thismeantthatclientscouldnotbesubjectedtolengthyquestioning onissuesthattheclientwasuncomfortableoruninterestedinaddressing.Thus,theusualmethodinaddictionstreatmentresearchof usinglengthyassessmentquestionnairescouldnotbeemployed.The secondissuethatledtoplacingsecondaryimportanceonassessment ordischargedatawasthequestionofreliabilityandvalidity.The program'sexplicitmandatetohelppeoplewhetherornottheywere willingtoacknowledgesubstance-relatedproblemssuggestedapriorithattheinformationprovidedbytheclientswhenfirstenteringthe programwouldbehighlysuspect.Thecontactdata,ontheother hand,providedastandardizedmethodofcollectinginformationthat couldbeaveraged(thusimprovingreliability)andcouldincorporate thecounselor'sperceptionsandknowledgeabouttheclient(thus improvingvaliditybynotbeingbasedexclusivelyonself-report). Nevertheless,whileprimaryweightwastobegiventothemonitoringdata(i.e.,clientcontactdata)inestimatingoutcomes,allsources ofdatawereusedtoaddresstheresearchobjectives.